A new provincial government funding is supporting environmental stewardship projects being developed throughout Northern B.C. with First Nations and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
The province’s LNG environmental stewardship initiative will allocate up to $30 million over three years for co-designed projects that First Nations communities will have a direct hand in managing.
Projects in development focus on four key areas including ecosystem assessment and monitoring; ecosystem restoration and enhancement; ecosystem research and knowledge exchange; and stewardship education and training.
Minister of Aboriginal relations and reconciliation John Rustad visited Wet’suwet’en First Nation on July 29, 2015, to make the announcement.
“First Nations should be strong partners in resource management in their traditional territories,” said Rustad. “The LNG environmental stewardship initiative is a new way of working with First Nations – one in which First Nations help design the process from the outset and propose projects that are important to their communities.”
Since the initiative was first announced in May 2014, regional stewardship forums with First Nations, industry and government representatives have been established throughout the north to identify environmental priorities and work together to refine the project concepts.
To date, 32 First Nations, the province and industry are working together on the LNG environmental stewardship initiative.
“The development of an LNG export industry in B.C. has tremendous potential to raise the bar on the quality of life for many First Nations across the north through increased prosperity and access to jobs,” said Chief Ogen. “The LNG environmental stewardship initiative is helping First Nations realize that economic potential without sacrificing our environmental priorities.”
Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold said he thinks the leadership of Chief Ogen will benefit the entire region.
“Our region has a significant opportunity to capture on the LNG developments that are planned to take place over the next several years,” he said. “Our local First Nations are taking a leadership role to ensure the projects are carried out in a safe manner, locals have employment opportunities, and that investments are made to benefit our communities.”
“The environmental stewardship initiative is an example of First Nations taking a leadership role to be pro-active in the development of the LNG projects,” he added.